Recall how a basic and common D chord is played with only 4 strings and 3 fingers. On the second fret, fingers 1 and 2 go on strings 3 and 1. On the 3rd fret, finger 3 goes on string 2 to complete the D chord (be sure not to strum strings 5 and 6).
Next, we will learn an alternate fingering for the D chord, and also a barred form utilizing only the 3rd and 4th fingers of the chording hand (left hand for the right handed player).
First practice the alternate D chord # 1, the non-barred form. Place fingertips # 2 and #3 on strings 3 and 1 of the second fret, and then place fingertip #4 on string 2 of the third fret. This is the same chord “D” as the first version you learned. Be sure to strum only strings 1,2,3,4.
Now, take this form and create the bar chord in D form. Simply slide this form up 1 fret (remember that “up” the fretboard means closer to the body of the guitar and further from the headstock). Then, place your index finger or first finger across the strings 1-2-3-4 of the first fret (remember, you number the strings from 1-6, starting with the thinnest E string). Not strum strings 1 through 4 and this should give a resounding E flat (notated by Eb) if you have chorded correctly. It may help to tilt the bar chording hand toward the headstock a bit to use the side of the barring finger, making it easier to bar. Additionally, with this tilt, the other 3 fingers have a bit more ability to spread or reach up the fretboard.
Next, learn the bar form of the common D chord by placing the ring finger or finger number 3 across strings 1-2-3 of the second fret (leaving the 4th string open and again not strumming strings 5 or 6). Now place the pinky or 4th fingertip on the 3rd fret, second string. This will give you the same “D” chord that is most commonly used on the acoustic guitar, with a second alternate fingering.
Finally, create the (double) bar chord form of D to slide up and down the fretboard (neck) of the acoustic guitar (added note: chording is the same for electric 6 string guitars). You should be using fingers 1 and 3 to bar and fingertip 4 to add the final touch. First, bar the first four strings of the first fret with the index finger. Next, bar the first 3 strings of the 3rd fret with the 3rd finger. Finally, add the 4th fingertip to the 4th fret second string and voila! You have done it!
Continue practicing at least ½ hour each day, without overdoing it. Continue to review past lessons and working all of the chords into your repertoire until they become easy for you to play quickly and cleanly.
About the author: Aaron Schulman has been an avid guitar enthusiast, teacher, and musician for over 20 years. If you are considering purchasing an acoustic guitar, be sure to understand how they are made so you can make a quality investment. Read more acoustic guitar reviews and his reports on how to buy an acoustic guitar at strumviews.com